Seibertron.com: Are there any pieces featured in A Visual History that were brand new to you even after all your years of deep curation and involvement with Transformers?
Jim Sorenson: Oh, absolutely. That's part of the joy of a project like this one. Much of the production artwork from Chapter 5, “The Films,” is from deep in the vaults. To my knowledge no one outside of Hasbro or Paramount has ever seen much of the material presented here.
Seibertron.com: If yes, any that stand out for any particular reason, perhaps due to their being a surprise discovery or something that has a fun story around how it was discovered?
Jim Sorenson: A couple of pieces come to mind. On page 269, we have a couple of Rescue Bots sketches that are just brimming with emotion. They really capture the feel of the series, and I'm delighted that we found room to include them. On page 346, there's an important piece of movie concept art called The Ice Man, by James Clyne. It's one of the first pieces that Michael Bay fell in love with and helped set the visual language for the entire film franchise. The challenge for the production staff was that it's a portrait piece, and of course films are landscape, so they had to figure out how to translate this piece to the big screen.
Seibertron.com: Are there some new items or surprises in this upcoming book that most fans haven't seen before?
Jim Sorenson: Yup! Tons. I won't give away all the surprises, but we've got the never-before-seen alternate modes for Elita-One and Orion Pax from the original series episodes The Search for Alpha Trion and War Dawn, which I'm super proud to bring to the light of day. You'll find them on page 226, in the “Animation” chapter. There's also an amazing sketch by Doug Heart, who did virtually all of the Beast Wars package art, for a 15th anniversary box set that would have included Beast Wars and G1 toys. Alas, it never came to be, but you can see the art here for the first time on page 44.
Seibertron.com: Was there a particular piece that was difficult to come across or that you hadn't seen before?
Jim Sorenson: There were several pieces that I fought hard to procure. On page 334 we've got the promo art from BotCon 1997, High Stakes, which was my very first Transformers convention. It's a gorgeous piece by Andrew Wildman, who was my very first favorite Transformers artist, with modern colors and inks by JP Bove and Stephen Baskerville. There's also a couple of images on pages 106-107 featuring the Siege Starscream vehicle and robot artwork that was a very late addition that I advocated passionately for, because I'd realized we were a little light on both Siege and Starscream. Two birds and one stone later and it's an absolutely gorgeous spread. And you wouldn't believe the lengths I went to in order to procure the Pat Lee Back to the Eighties piece originally published in Wizard Magazine. (Suffice to say, a former editor had to dig it out of a semi-inactive email account.)
Seibertron.com: Of all of the artwork shown in this book, what piece stands out to you the most as your personal favorite?
Jim Sorenson: Which of my children do I love the most, you ask? Jeepers. I'm not even going to attempt to pick a single favorite. But some pieces that have great personal meaning for me are the classic Shockwave cover to Marvel #5, my first comic book EVER, on page 127, a two-page spread of every Gobots character ever in Cybertronian bodies on 294-295 that I commissioned when I was working with the fan club, and a series of Transformers homages to classic comic covers on pages 208-209 headlined by a Liefeld-on-Liefeld recreation of the cover to New Mutants #87 he did for the Dark Cybertron storyline.
Questions pertaining to the Transformers franchise:
Seibertron.com: Since the scale charts shown in The Complete Ark do not address it, how large do you think the individual Scramble City style combiner characters are in relation to other established characters? Are the individual limbs similar in size to the ‘84 cars? Are the torso characters Optimus Prime and Megatron sized? Would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this debate!
Jim Sorenson: This feels like a question that would require research to answer well. WITHOUT having done said research, my gut is that guys like Motormaster are as big as a large Autobot car (think Ironhide Trailbreaker, five meters according to the internal scale guides) and that limbs are probably closer to regular car height, about four meters. But the real answer is that these guys are whatever size the plot required.
Seibertron.com: What was it like to come up with fiction for the TFCC (Transformers Collectors Club) characters? Is there any story that stands out to you as a favorite, or that you're particularly proud of?
Jim Sorenson: Incredibly satisfying. There's something magical about starting with a blank page and building up the robot zombie apocalypse 500 pages later. I think the last two Beast Wars Uprising stories, Derailment (a 179-page novel!) and The Inexorable March, stack up favorably to any other Transformers fiction you might care to read.
Seibertron.com: What's your favorite aspect of the franchise?
Jim Sorenson: The community it has generated. I've got friends on all four corners of the globe, and I'd never have met most of them if not for the incredible franchise that is The Transformers.
Seibertron.com: Transformers fans miss their time with Jim Sorenson at past BotCons! Will you be signing books anywhere in the future or when can fans get some time with you?
Jim Sorenson: I try to keep my dance card full, but I've got no specific plans I can announce yet. This year I did TFCon in Burbank, NYCC in Manhattan, Bubonicon in my hometown of Albuqurque, and TFNation in the United Kingdom. Fingers crossed I'll be able to maintain a similar schedule for 2020. But I'm easy enough to get in touch with. Facebook is pretty reliable (https://www.facebook.com/jimsorenson) and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jimsorenson) are two good means of reaching out. So please, don't be a stranger!
While it seems Season 3 of The Toys that Made Us may still be a bit off in the distance, we will be getting a Blu-ray release of all 8 episodes (S1 &2) in just a couple of weeks. It will be released on October first and some of the bonus content appears to be Transformers focused, as you can see below. You can preorder on Amazon.com. The Blu Ray is $26.99 USD and comes with a limited collectible in the form of the logo. We thank fellow Seibertronian O.Supreme for letting us know of this.
Here are the list of extras:
Featurette with Show Creator Brian Volk-Weiss
Barbie 80’s Marketing
More Stores That Made Us: GI Joe the Story of COBRA
More Stores That Made Us: Us Selling the Show
Jim Swearingen Extended Interview Peter Cullen Extended Interview
Todd McFarlane on LEGO
Todd McFarlane on Star Trek Hideki Yoke/Takara Tour
+9 Deleted Scenes
Click HERE or on any of the images below to head to the updated Unicron SDCC2019 gallery.
We're also giving you our interview with the Transformers Brand Team Hasbro's Senior Design Manager John Warden and Hasbro's Marketing Director Ben Montano. Our very own head Seibertronian Ryan Yzquierdo was on the scene to interview the two gentlemen in front of the Unicron prototype itself. But they don't just talk about Unicron, they also discuss the Studio Series and the recent G1 reissues. Here's some highlights from the interview.
- They go over the challenges of converting a sphere like a puzzle into the familiar devourer of worlds, and some of the logistics of the Haslab crowdfunding project.
- They also touch on the prioritization of features focusing on articulation such as in the fingers and eyes in place of electronic light up or sound features.
- They also touch on the vintage G1 reissues such as the Dino cassettes and The Sonic Iconic, everyone's favorite who raves it, Soundwave!
- They remind us that Blaster and Astrotrain are still coming down the tracks so keep your optics focused on those WalMarts Seibertronians.
- John states very seriously about listing Unicron in an official size class, name yet to be determined.
- The Studio Series is also discussed, or the lack thereof. They say they fully intend to continue with the line and wanted to debut some of their newer products but didn't want the SDCC2019 to be too busy given all the other Siege reveals let alone Unicron. They do mention wanting to wait to show the finalized Studio Series Devastator once all the individual toys are finalized and revealed. They talk about how the gestalt mode is not just tall, but deep and extremely bulky. Very much a monster! A very different type of combiner than we've seen before.
Check out the video for the full interview. It's always a pleasure to hear people who are so passionate about the brand guiding its current vision.
Thanks to a head's up from IDW's Twitter we've learned that PiexelatedGeek.com has a brief interview with IDW's Transformers Galaxies writer Tyler Bleszinski. This is broken into both a written portion excerpted below along with a supplemental five minute interview with Mr. Bleszinski.
In the video portion Tyler touches on how this story will take place recently after the Constructicons have been forged and follows them as they make choices that will shape their darker destiny. He doesn't want to spoil how Devastator comes into play, but states this will be a character quite unlike the Devastator we saw way back in the old G1 cartoon. Enjoy the interview below and click on the embedded video for a few extra cool tidbits from Tyler on the origins of his interest in the characters and the Transformers brand as a whole
Don't forget to share your thoughts in the forums and stay tuned to Seibertron for the ultimate in Transformers news!
"This September we’ll be getting a brand new anthology series from IDW – Transformers: Galaxies. The first four-part story will focus on the original combiner team, the Constructicons.
At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con we had a chance to sit down with writer Tyler Bleszinski to talk about why he wanted to write this story, why the Transformers, and specifically the Constructicons, are so important to him, and what we can expect from the series"
"After we turned off the cameras we talked with Tyler a little more; I always like the little conversations you have with people after the recording’s over, everybody’s more relaxed when they don’t have a camera in their face. Lucky for me, the backup recording was still going, so I caught a little of the conversation."
"Tyler: There’s so much to learn from seeing them in action, seeing them do what they do, even if it’s just as much as them building something. To me, that was the was the coolest thing about the Constructions. I always thought, man, they’re like these builder bots, they should really be Autobots. How did they become Decepticons? And then the cartoon…I don’t know if you followed the cartoon..
Elizabeth: It was the one with Omega Supreme, right?
Yes, the cartoon basically swept it away because Megatron had a Robosmasher that brainwashed them. I mean…really?
It takes it away from them.
There’s no choice! As much as I loved that episode because the Constructicons are featured so prominently, I always hated that aspect of it, that they didn’t make a choice to do what they did, they were forced into it. And while there’s there’s an aspect of them being forced into certain things here too, it’s choices that they make to bring them there."
"The thing I loved about the old IDW series was when they showed how Megatron became Megatron. In the cartoon the Decepticons were bad bad bad, evil evil evil, the Autobots heroic, awesome, incredible, The Best. And when I read the IDW series that featured Megatron being a miner, and then wising up to rebel against the bourgeois Autobot senate, I was like “Damn, finally somebody gets it, there should be layers here! Like Walter White or Tony Soprano, that should be Megatron!” Not like, cookie cutter villain."
When you were a kid did you dream of growing up and designing and building toys as a job? Are you an adult and that's still your dream? Hear how these kinds of dreams come true in this truly fascinating audio interview by Slate Magazine with Hasbro Senior Design Manager John Warden and his right hand bot Senior Project Engineer Lynsey Bernier. We learned of this article from our own fellow Seibertronian Megatronus.
John and Lynsey go over the entire evolution of a Transformer from concept to design to final product. They also go over many of the details of the concept and creation of the new Unicron crowdfunding project through HasLab.
If any of the behind the scenes aspects of the Transformers creation process interests you then this is easily a worth while listen. Learn why certain exceptions have to be made during the design process, how affordability is minded throughout the process, and where dreams and actuality find compromises.
Whatever you do, don't forget these key words: Man-Bear-Plane. You'll have to listen to the interview to find out what that means.
Enjoy the interview and share your thoughts with the Seibertron crew in the forums, and as always stay tune to Seibertron for the ultimate in Transformers news!
Thanks to Seibertronian 00Stargrave00, we have word of a new interview with Peter Cullen and Frank Welker for the 35th and of Transformers! The interview can be found here, at AP news or the image below; you can read the whole article there. They talk about how much the role meant to them, especially Peter Cullen towards the end; an ideal heartfelt moment!
“It can bring tears to your eyes,” Cullen said. “I’m not exaggerating.”
Cullen said parents and children bond over Transformers at the conventions, with the parents sometimes getting more excited than the children. And he doubted this week would be different.
“I expect that I will run into a father with his son, and the father will more than likely get choked up,” Cullen said. “And then I get choked up, and then the kid is saying ‘What are these two grown men getting choked up about?’”
Frank Welker and Peter Cullen will be at MegaCon Orlando 2019, for Thursday and Friday, as stated in the article, most likely to their fun shenanigans on stage!
Rock audiophile site PureGrainAudio has landed an interview with Ricardo Hoyos who plays Tripp in the Bumblebee movie. It's an extensive interview that covers a wide range of topics including his auditions, growing up with Transformers toys, movie wardrobe, and being Canadian. He also talked about his experience with director Travis Knight which echoed our own Jon Bailey's impressions of him.
From that first audition that we did he made me feel so comfortable. […] Usually, at auditions, there’s something awkward about it, or you wish you did something differently. Just from that day and every day on set, he really not only did a great job of making us all feel comfortable, but also communicating with incredible efficiency. Like I could really understand what he was going for. He had a clear vision in mind. He just had that comfortability to know what’s going on and know that there’s this very good communication going on which made for a really nice time on set. He’s great, he’really great.
He also talked about some of Tripp's character development that ended up not making it into the movie.
Originally actually we deleted the scene where, in the end, I kind of disown that group of girls. When I’m like “You know what? I’ve seen the true side of you girls. Not cool.” But, yeah, that still is played upon, even though that scene didn’t make it into the final cut. That was definitely the attitude that they were going for. I associate with this group of people that maybe doesn’t jive with everything that I am about. Which I think is just like your classic kind of high school thing. We all kind of go through that where maybe people aren’t as nice as we want them to be in high school to others. But he’s a redeemable character. He sees through that. He’s not bullied like the other girls.
The entire interview can be read at the link above along with an audio version.
Now that the Bumblebee movie has hit home Director Travis Knight continues making the interview rounds. This time he spoke with MovieFone about some very specific topics.
On the topic of the cutting room floor:
We had this scene early on in the script. It was a “Sorcerer's Apprentice”-type moment where Bumblebee transfers his energon on to some of these appliances is in the house. We boarded it out and it was a lot of fun and but we never got it to work as a finished thing. It's one of those things where you share a work-in-progress with the world and you don't really want them to see it because I'm not done. But we did a fair amount of work on that sequence and in the end for a variety of reasons, for both tone and for pacing. While on its own, it was going to be a ton of fun, it just didn't propel the movie forward. It stopped the movie in his tracks for essentially this fun little moment and really wasn’t about our characters or their or their experiences, their growth or their relationship really.
Continuity is very important to me, as is being consistent. And so I did take a good hard look at the films that had been done in the past. And as we were thinking about this movie, I still wanted to move to be self-contained. I didn't presuppose any familiarity with the films or the franchise. I wanted someone who wouldn’t know anything about the Transformers to be able to sit in the theater to watch this movie and have a good time and enjoy the movie, not knowing anything about the transformers. But that said, it was important to me that if we were living within this universe and this mythology that it be consistent. At some point we realized that we were essentially boxing ourselves into a corner -- that we were, we were making choices that weren't really in the best interest of the film if we were trying to kind of sit within the overall mythology of the franchise.
Once I talked through some of these things with the producers and with the folks at Paramount, at some point we made the decision that this was the story that we're telling and we have to talk the best where we can. And if that means that we essentially are restarting the franchise and that means we’re rebooting these characters and they were taking aspects of the franchise and putting a different prism on it, then that's what we had to do. And ultimately it was a liberating choice because then we weren’t cornered into these decisions based on what had come before. We could tell our own story. And that that was the aspect of that.
On turning people into goo:
[laughs] Well, we wanted to showcase how much of a threat that our baddies and that if Charlie or Bumblebee some face-to -ace with these antagonists, they are in very big trouble. We wanted to show right away that these characters are a real threat. However in keeping with like you said, some kind of Joe Dante, family, Amblin-y vibe, you try not to be grotesque. We still wanted this to be a family movie. And so even though what the Decepticons do to people is horrific, there's still a comedic element to it. It’s still kind of fun, even though it's gross and awful. You can watch it and give you a little bit of a smile on the corner of your mouth. But that was the idea -- it wasn't horrific and grotesque, that that it was communicated what we want to but, in a family-friendly way. I will say that when we shot that stuff practically, people would get it all over their shoes. It was disgusting.
The full interview can be read at the link above and you can discuss it in the Energon Pub forums below!
We have a nice interview for you from Travis Knight, the director of Bumblebee, where he explains why Bumblebee and Charlie had to part ways at the end. He reinforces the stand alone nature of his Bumblebee movie.
The interview comes from Comicbook.com (who once again misses the mark with its headline, a trend with Transformers news).
“[The movie] had a beginning, it had a middle and an end and it had proper resolution. And so as I was charting the relationship between these two character there was no other way for it to end. It had to end with them parting.
It’s about one of those relationships, one of those life changing relationships that where someone comes into your orbit and fundamentally changes your trajectory moving forward. And it was, he has his mission to do and he has to go do it and she has her life and she has to live and she has to go live it. And they change each others lives, but then they had to part and that was the story that I was telling.
And so even though I love seeing them together, and I was sad when they had to part as well. It was critical for what this movie was.”
“I’m sure a creative mind could come up with a way to bring them back together, but it was always incredibly important to me that this film, even though it sits within a larger context of mythology and comics and cartoons and films, that this film be self contained that it lives on its own.”
There has been a lot of misinformation regarding the future of the Transformers film franchise and while people are quick to claim it is due to the film producer, director or "Hasbro" going back and forth, the real culprit seems to be misleading headlines in articles. Sometimes, in the hope of garnering views, an entertainment news site will opt for a very eye catching title but the problem is that many will simply look at the title and not read the article, which can quickly spread misinformation. This is happening a lot recently with Transformers movie news, like the time sites claimed "Hasbro" confirmed the Bumblebee film was a reboot. Sadly, anyone reading the articles would see that there was no quote from any Hasbro representative using the word "reboot" when describing Bumblebee. The sites didn't even care to name any specific individual credited to have said anything on the matter. It was just assumptions and people's interpretations that kept being passed on. Nothing concrete, unlike what any headline announced.
I mention all that because the community and news sites are at it again. Recently, Lorenzo di Bonaventura stated that there is currently a script being done for the next film in the Transformers live action franchise, one that would come after Transformers: The Last Knight. This prompted many sites to state that The last Knight was getting a sequel. While I can see the logic of that interpretation, all di Bonaventura said was that there would be another film, not that the specific storyline established in a previous film would be continued.
Basically, the next big Transformers film would come after The last Knight just like Age of Extinction came after Dark of the Moon. Set in the present, in the established live action universe, but with no real connection to past stories (which is par for the course in Transformers live action films when you think about it).
That is why when we are presented with the short interview below, where di Bonaventura answers "no" when asked by Slash Film if the next script picks up where The Last Knight left off, it fits perfectly well with all that was said. Not just by him, but by Brian Goldner, over a year ago at the 2018 Toy fair, when we were told that past stories would be dropped going forward and that a new team at Paramount was to oversee the future films.
So while we would love to be reporting you actual news, saying that the next big Transformers film will not be picking up elements from where the Last Knight left off is something we were told a long time ago.
We do have some other news though, in the same interview, di Bonaventura stated that Michael Bay would not be returning as director for upcoming Transformers films. However, this would also be par for the course as we have been told time and time again that Michael Bay was done with the franchise and yet he would still come back. Right now, all we know is that any upcoming Transformers film (either taking place in the past or present) is still at the scripting phase and there is no director attached.
Here is the latest quick interview:
For the next Transformers are you looking for new directors or hoping you can still make Michael Bay an offer?
I think Bay has made it really clear that he loved what he did and he’s not doing anymore. So I think the answer is we’re writing a script. At that point, once we get script we have a strong belief in, then we’ll begin to debate that. Michael’s made it really clear that he didn’t want to do it. I don’t blame him. He spent a hell of a lot, a decade of his life, shooting them.
Are you developing a script that picks up where The Last Knight left off?
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